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Famous Australians

The following clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic:

An epic flight

from the television program An Airman Remembers (G)

This clip recounts the story of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his aeroplane the Southern Cross. It includes archival footage of the record-breaking 1928 trip across the Pacific with Smithy and his colleague Charles Ulm …

Labor wins in 1972

from the documentary Allies (PG)

In a campaign speech, Bob Hawke pledges that an elected Whitlam government would stand-up to the US and other nations to openly declare when it believes a policy is wrong.

In separate interviews, former US …

‘A lot of magic’

from the documentary Astonish Me, Graeme Murphy Choreographer (PG)

Assistant artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company Janet Vernon remembers meeting Tasmanian dancer Graeme Murphy when he first joined the Australian Ballet School as a young man. We see Janet and Graham working together …

Menzies in Cairo

from the home movie Australia to England via Tobruk and Benghazi: Menzies Wartime Tour (PG)

This clip from a Menzies home movie features the Prime Minister inspecting Australian troops stationed in Cairo in 1941. We then see him inspecting Bardia, Tobruk and Benghazi from the air before arriving at an …

Social justice

from the documentary Big People, Small People (PG)

Michael Leunig sees our inability to say 'enough is enough’ as a problem while John Howard considers it to be the acceptable price of progress.

An honourable man

from the television program Billy and Percy (PG)

Prime Minister Billy Hughes (Martin Vaughan) and his secretary, Percy Deane (Harold Hopkins), are playing golf to unwind from the stresses of parliament. The conscription referendum has just been lost by Hughes. His golf ball …

The first inhabitants

from the television program The Blainey View – Footprints (PG)

Wandjuk Marika, the great artist and poet of the people of Arnhem Land in northern Australia, speaks to the historian Geoffrey Blainey of being one with the land and of his passion for land rights …

Bush medicine

from the television program The Blainey View – Footprints (PG)

Wandjuk Marika is visiting Melbourne from his home in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. He shows Geoffrey Blainey some of the plants and leaves that Aboriginals use to keep colds and other ailments at …

Creating a revolution

from the documentary Blood Brothers – Freedom Ride (PG)

Historical footage of Dr Perkins at Sydney University, in the pool halls. Dr Perkins speaks of why segregation must be challenged, and the need for him to fight for the cause of his people.

Rewriting the record books

from the television program Bodyline (PG)

At a garden party, Douglas Jardine (Hugo Weaving), the very model of an English gentleman and a very fine cricketer, is discussing the phenomenon of the young Donald Bradman (Gary Sweet) with his friends and …

It’s not cricket

from the television program Bodyline (PG)

The English team is split over their Captain’s tactics. The gentlemen players are not happy and the team manager, Pelham Warner, is distressed and alarmed at the danger being done to Empire politics. Later …

Democracy in action

from the documentary Canberra Files, The (PG)

Standing in the House of Representatives Chamber in Old Parliament House, actor Michael Caton provides the context for early newsreels in Australia. This is followed by a Paramount Gazette newsreel from 1929 that shows ex-Prime …

Menzies home movies

from the documentary Canberra Files, The (PG)

This montage of clips from the Menzies Home Movie Collection features footage from Menzies’ wartime tour in 1941, including Tobruk, Palestine, Cairo, Jerusalem, Khartoum and England during the Blitz. It ends with close-ups of the …

The pyjama game

from the documentary Cricket in Australia (PG)

Former Australian cricketer Ian Chappell tells his version of the beginnings of World Series Cricket in 1978, when media baron Kerry Packer made Chappell captain.

Musical paralysis

from the documentary Dance of Nature: The Music of Ross Edwards (PG)

Australian composer Ross Edwards went to London to study composition. He worked obsessively in a damp flat and began to feel claustrophobic, which affected his work. He moved to the countryside of Yorkshire in Northern …

60,000 km around the world

from the documentary Dick Smith Explorer (PG)

Explorer Dick Smith arrives at Fort Worth, USA, completing his solo voyage around the world by helicopter. Press and family greet him.

The discovery

from the television program Dig A Million, Make A Million (G)

Pastoralist and prospector Lang Hancock retraces his route by air and on foot to explain how he made his great discovery of a mountain of iron ore at Mount Tom Price in Western Australia.

Into the history books

from the television program The Dismissal (PG)

In the panic and confusion of the Labor government’s sacking and the packing up and the frenzied shredding of documents, Gough Whitlam stands alone, a tragic figure, before all his friends and colleagues. He …

Don Bradman in England

from the newsreel Don Bradman in England (PG)

Don Bradman is interviewed in 1930 while on tour in England. It is an informal interview, with Bradman talking casually as he puts on his cricket jumper and jacket.

Bradman discusses the dull light in …

We Are Going

from the documentary Dreamtime, Machinetime (PG)

Aerial views of Minjerriba (Stradbroke Island), and Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) walking along the beach with children. Oodgeroo tells us the inspiration for her poetry, and its role in personal and political resistance to white …

Taking on New York

from the television program Dynasties – The Murdochs (PG)

When Rupert Murdoch took over The New York Post he was already an institution in the UK and Australia. The former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, reminisces about those times and how Rupert Murdoch …

Eternity is a long time

from the documentary Eternity (G)

Arthur Stace writes the word 'Eternity’ in chalk on Sydney’s streets. Director of photography, Dion Beebe, uses black-and-white film to capture the mood and time of Sydney in the 1930s.

First documentary

from the documentary Frank Hurley: The Man Who Made History (PG)

Frank Hurley filmed and photographed one of the first expeditions to the Antarctic in 1913. Mike Gray of the Fox Talbot Museum and Joanna Wright of the Royal Geographical Society comment on the significance of …

Hurley’s composites

from the documentary Frank Hurley: The Man Who Made History (PG)

Photographer Frank Hurley achieved some of his greatest wartime photographs by combining several photos into one. Stephen Burton of the Australian War Memorial shows how it is done. Australia’s official wartime historian, Charles Bean …

‘Hiding behind a character’

from the documentary Gillies (PG)

Actor Max Gillies is a guest on Michael Parkinson’s show. The then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, is also a guest. Gillies uses gestures, make-up and voice impersonation to pretend to be the real Bob …

Angry Penguins

from the documentary The Good Looker (PG)

Joy Hester (1920-1960) was a passionate woman whose works, mainly in ink, are confronting. Her confident work is displayed by her first husband, painter Albert Tucker. Hester was a part of the group of Victorian …


from the documentary Jimmy Little's Gentle Journey (G)

Historical footage of Jimmy Little. Jimmy’s daughter Frances Peters-Little talks about her father, and how their shared passion for music ensured a great family bond. Russell Taylor talks about Jimmy Little overcoming stereotypes.

The Battlers

from the documentary Kylie Tennant (G)

Kylie Tennant talks about researching and writing her third novel The Battlers.

Kesselring and Goering

from the documentary Last Plane Out of Berlin (G)

Australian aviator and businessman, Sidney Cotton, conned Field Marshall Albert Kesselring into flying his plane over the Rhine so that Cotton could photograph German war installations for British intelligence. Cotton also photographed the country house …

Into battle

from the television program The Legend of Damien Parer (PG)

Damien Parer’s first taste of battle was with the British infantry in the Middle East. He quickly learned that if he wanted to get the shots that best showed men in action, then he …

Coronation and procession

from the home movie Menzies RG: Our Coronation Tour (G)

This clip from a home movie, filmed by Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, shows Queen Elizabeth II arriving at Westminster Abbey in a horse-drawn carriage. She alights from the carriage surrounded by her Maids …

London, the Blitz, April 1941

from the home movie Menzies' Wartime Tour – England (PG)

This clip from a home movie taken by Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, captures London during the Blitz. It begins with an intertitle that introduces the subject and records that is ‘London the Blitz …

Reaping the harvests of history

from the documentary A Nation is Built (PG)

Scenes of wheat harvesting are accompanied by commentary full of metaphors of nation-building based on ‘harvesting the benefits of a great past’. As the commentary builds to a patriotic climax, the music from _Pomp and …

‘Felicity is a girl of delicate sensibility’

from the feature film The Night the Prowler (PG)

In a flashback, Doris (Ruth Cracknell) plots the marriage of her daughter Felicity (Kerry Walker) to a rising young Canberra diplomat, John (John Derum). Felicity is late home, so Doris tries to entice John with …

Lionel Murphy

from the documentary Or Forever Hold Your Peace (G)

Federal Opposition shadow minister Lionel Murphy pledges his government’s opposition to the Vietnam War. He says ‘we are here to end the war in Vietnam’.

‘We shall only be gone a little while’

from the feature film Picnic at Hanging Rock (PG)

After their picnic lunch, school friends Miranda (Anne Lambert), Marion (Jane Vallis) and Irma (Karen Robson) ask permission from their French mistress Mademoiselle de Portiers (Helen Morse) to go for a walk around the base …

The role of the public servant

from the television program Profiles of Power, HC Coombs (G)

Dr HC Coombs, the great Australian public servant and advisor to six Australian prime ministers, talks about whether it’s possible to be an entirely neutral public servant.

Approaching Sydney

from the documentary Ross Smith's Flight from London to Australia (G)

From onboard the biplane, Frank Hurley films two of the crew looking down over Sydney’s harbour. He captures aerial views of Sydney’s inner harbour suburbs including Watsons Bay, Vaucluse, Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay …

Always the light

from the documentary Smart's Labyrinth (PG)

Artist Jeffrey Smart takes the audience on a whimsical visit to an industrial landscape where he set a painting featuring bicycle riders. Smart asks the film’s director where he would put the figure of …

Billy Hughes saves a life

from the feature film Smithy (G)

Just after the First World War, Charles Kingsford Smith (Ron Randell) secures the backing of the Blackburn Aviation Co for his entry to the inaugural England to Australia Air Race, but he is dismayed when …

‘They can see Australia!’

from the feature film Smithy (G)

Kingsford Smith and co-pilot Charles Ulm (John Tate) are nearing the Australian coastline, after a history-making flight across the Pacific from San Francisco. A violent storm has engulfed their plane, the converted Fokker now known …

‘One of the most fantastic flights ever made’

from the feature film Smithy (G)

After mechanical failure stops them from taking part in the Centenary Air Race from Australia to Britain, Kingsford Smith (Ron Randell) and PG Taylor (playing himself) decide to attempt the Pacific crossing to the US …

Fitzpatrick incident at Mrs Kelly’s homestead

from the feature film The Story of the Kelly Gang (PG)

This fragment from The Story of the Kelly Gang shows Constable Fitzpatrick visiting the homestead of Kate Kelly. Fitzpatrick attempts to kiss Kate Kelly and in the scuffle Ned Kelly shoots Fitzpatrick in the wrist …

Siege at Glenrowan hotel

from the feature film The Story of the Kelly Gang (PG)

This clip shows the troopers outside the Glenrowan hotel. Joe Byrne is shot. Steve and Dan shoot each other rather than be caught. The police set fire to the hotel and Father Gibney runs into …

Ned Kelly’s last stand and capture

from the feature film The Story of the Kelly Gang (PG)

This clip shows a re-enactment of the bushranger Ned Kelly being shot and captured by police. It has severe nitrate damage.

(Elizabeth Taggart-Speers)

Opening ceremony

from the home movie Syme, Ken: Melbourne Olympic Games (G)

From the stands, Ken Syme records part of the opening ceremony. The Australian athletes enter the stadium at the MCG. The Olympic flag is raised and hundreds of doves are released into the air. Champion …

Whitlam backs Marcos’s Asian forum idea

from the historical Whitlam – Visit to the Philippines (PG)

Then prime minister, Gough Whitlam, addresses the State Dinner at Malacañang Palace, Manila, hosted by President Ferdinand and Mrs Imelda Marcos on 11 February 1974. The dinner is followed by a performance from the Bayanihan …

Manila Bay cruise

from the historical Whitlam – Visit to the Philippines (PG)

The then Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda Marcos host a Manila Bay Cruise on 12 February 1974 for the then prime minister Gough Whitlam and his wife Mrs Margaret Whitlam.

The end of the tour

from the historical Whitlam – Visit to the Philippines (PG)

On 13 February 1974, the final day of his six-nation South-East Asian tour, the then prime minister Gough Whitlam addresses local and foreign media at a press conference at the Hotel Intercontinental in Manila. He …

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